2018 Bordeaux En Primeur
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2018 is the best vintage of any of the 49 I have been involved with.
Christian Moueix, April 2019
This is an exceptionally good vintage for Bordeaux, with the best wines probably eclipsing those of any vintage in recent memory.
The wines are intense, powerful and have tremendous ageing potential. Colours are deep, alcohol levels are between half a degree and a full degree higher than recent averages, and tannins are ripe. Yet the best wines have maintained freshness, energy and most importantly balance.
In our visits to Bordeaux in early April this year we tasted some of the finest clarets we have ever tasted en primeur.
Whilst all the top communes and appellations made a number of truly memorable wines, 2018 is not a universally fabulous vintage. It is much less consistent than 2016, 2010 and 2009, and particular care has been necessary in selecting the final line-up for this and our main en primeur offer.
The keys to making excellent wines in 2018 were firstly choosing the right time to harvest, and secondly ensuring gentle handling of the grapes during the winemaking process. Picking too early meant good acidity in the wines but a lack of phenolic ripeness, whereas harvesting too late led to over-alcoholic wines lacking freshness. The grapes at harvest were tiny in 2018, and the skins were packed with tannin. Only the gentlest of extractions was necessary in the winery.
We encourage you to place an order as soon as possible as, once a particular wine’s price has been established, no more pre-orders will be taken for that wine.
Grape sorters awaiting the next trailer at Grand-Puy-Lacoste
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou; one of the best vineyard exposures in Saint-Julien
2018 was another vintage of extremes. One of the wettest early seasons on record was followed by one of the driest and sunniest summers. The mild, damp spring encouraged a widespread and aggressive mildew attack. This had a devastating effect on some châteaux’s yields, with organic and biodynamic producers such as Palmer particularly badly affected. Hail also struck in parts of the southern Médoc, Sauternes and the Côtes de Bourg.
But then the clouds parted and the sun shone… and shone. Between the beginning of July and the harvest there was 25% more sun than the 30-year average, and rainfall was tiny – just 46mm fell throughout the entire summer at Château Margaux. The harvest was very long and unhurried, with growers able to decide exactly when each plot of vines was picked.
In conclusion, it was possible in 2018 to make superlative wines, as long as you were vigilant in the vineyards during the growing season, when choosing the optimum harvest date, and then in managing the vinifications in the cellar. Not everyone got these three vital elements right, and so careful selection has been vital.
I spent two full weeks in Bordeaux in April tasting and re-tasting hundreds of wines to pick out the cream of the crop for our 2018 offers. I would be very happy to have any of these wines in my cellar!
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